Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Day Like Any Other

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Sometimes I wonder what Christmas is like in households that go all out. I'm sure it's a really special time. Not for us. The Monkeys did not exchange gifts with each other. Today was just a day off in the middle of the week.

We saw I Am Legend and Juno on the big screen. The first was simultaneously suspenseful and oddly predictable, yet fairly enjoyable. It's a zombie flick after all, and it has Will Smith. I'm not going to rave about I Am Legend, but at least I didn't feel cheated out of my money.

You might hate me for this, but Juno is overrated. The banter is over-the-top (and not in a good way), and you can tell that writer Diablo Cody thinks she's a lot more clever than she really is. Ellen Page is absolutely charming as the title protagonist, but the dialogue of the film is simply ridiculous and unbelievable, and that's not Miss Page's fault. (I'm looking at you, Ms. Cody. Boo!)

Mr. Monkey HATED Juno, as did every single one of Brother Monkey's friends (who are all comedy writers). One of Brother Monkey's friends thought Juno was so bad that he actually walked out of the theater during the movie.

[UPDATED: In response to Nanette's comment, we didn't hear about Brother Monkey's friends' opinions until dinner, a few hours after my mixed feelings. Learning this actually made me feel good and vindicated. I thought maybe I was crazy until I discovered others didn't like it, too. I really did want to love Juno.]

I can't say that I feel as strongly as Brother Monkey's snobby industry friends, but I can say that Juno really isn't that compelling. The cast is very good, and Ellen Page deserves all the accolades she's been getting, but the film itself is lacking and extraordinarily annoying at times.

It's hard to explain. Notwithstanding the great performances by the amazing cast, the movie is just...meh. I laughed here and there, and I love Michael Cera regardless, but other times I wanted to throw things at the screen.

I didn't hate Juno, but I was a bit disappointed by it, perhaps because so many people had told me the movie was "sooooo [me]" and that I would "love it." I didn't. Hmph.

I hope the movies we borrowed from Brother Monkey are better. (He and Torry just got back from Costa Rica today and are heading up to the Bay Area tomorrow to visit her family, so we're benefiting from their absence.)

Yes, even during the strike, writers still get screener copies, and generous Brother Monkey always lets his big sis borrow his DVDs. Woohoo! Brother Monkey said that Juno actually came in the mail today, which sort of bummed me out because I could've watched the stinker in the comfort of my own home, and Mr. Monkey could've simply left the room.

Torry had the dubious honor of spending her first "Christmas" with the Monkeys tonight. Like many non-Christian folk, we went to a Chinese restaurant, Hong Kong Palace (19101 Colima Rd., Rowland Heights) to be exact.

The food was decent, nothing particularly special, but certainly not bad by any means. It was good enough. I liked it more than, say, Juno.

What was really impressive was the dessert, which we had to order at least 20 minutes ahead of time, not unlike the way you must anticipate your chocolate souffles at Western restaurants. The rough English translation is "crispy skin almond tea," but that's not such a great description. Take a look for yourself.

I found the shape of this dessert reminiscent of the little mushroom structures that housed the Smurfs. The "roof" is a buttery, flaky, warm puff pastry. So good on its own! But don't stop there. Open the roof to reveal piping hot almond milk inside!

Even better! I think the hot almond milk is soy-based, rather than being dairy, but I'm not 100% positive. Whatever it was, it was awesomely delicious. I could tell that Torry really liked dunking her puff pastry into the hot almond milk. For some reason, that made me happy.

Everyone agreed this was one of the best things they'd ever tasted. No wonder Mama Monkey was so excited to order it right when we placed our regular meal order! I would definitely go back to Hong Kong Palace just for this dessert. I think I'd just eat two of these babies and call it a night.


  1. Hmmm...I wonder two things.

    1. Maybe the film was too pre-hyped for you, with so many people telling you you'd love it.

    2. Did you hear about the Bro Monkey's friend's opinions before you saw the film? Maybe you were tainted by that?

    Not to suggest that you can't come to your own unbiased conclusion of a film, but I am curious. That being said, I'm usually pretty neutral/overly excited about most films so I'm definitely not one to talk. ;)

  2. I won't hate you for not liking Juno. I think the problem with some movies is all the hype that comes with them. I'm in the minority when I say that I hated Superbad. I was expecting non-stop laughter but it actually made me feel super old, Do they have to say the f word so much?.

    I am glad to see Michael Cera getting loads of work though because I think he is very underrated.

    btw - I noticed you had "Lars and the Real Girl" in the pic. You have to give a quick review of that movie if you watch it because its one I've been really wanting to watch.

  3. I haven't seen Juno yet, but I want to. Thanks for the reviews!

  4. mmm...almond milk. despite our [western]christian upbringings, mr. tater and i were so happy to celebrate the holiday with non-western foods.

    keep the carb + liquid combos coming.

  5. oh, sad to hear about juno! but I see that dan in real life is in your dvd pile...S and I both really enjoyed that movie, even if it's predictable as well. ;)

  6. I've been to that restaurant and had no idea they had that dessert! You're opening my eyes to whole new side of my world, weemo.

  7. we went to see juno last night too. i liked it, just not as much as i thought i would. oh well, i still love michael cera, and ellen paige was great for the part :)

  8. just like every other current movie, juno is on our "wait for the dvd" list. sorry you didn't love it like you thought you would :|

    okay, the hot almond milk looks absolutely YUM.

    and, wanna come to our house next christmas? it's really fun to watch the kid get up at some ridiculously hour and get giddy over opening gifts while eating pillsbury cinnamon rolls fresh from the oven.

  9. Maybe I am a lightweight, but "I Am Legend" freaked me out. I almost wished I had a night light.

  10. We went to a Chinese restaurant for our x'mas dinner too :)

  11. I was on Colima road yesterday, and drove right by your restaurant. :)

  12. Hate over-hype. It always taints my view. Sad to hear you didn't like Juno, but happy about the un-Christmas dinner yummies. ;) We had an un-Christmas dinner too. Would have been sushi if they were open. :)

  13. that desert looks like the mushroom bad guys in Super Mario 3!

    And i think i'll have to go see Juno soon just so I can be the deciding factor in this Nanette/WeezerMonkey movie critics great debate

  14. Yay for Christmas Day movies! Marc and I saw Charlie Wilson's War. It was good, not great. Had some very good scenes though. It made the day go by much faster, which was a good thing :)


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